What's the Problem with Fast Fashion? The fashion industry needs to fundamentally change to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion. The fast fashion business model, cannot survive without sacrifices to people and the planet. What is it? “Fast fashion” is a buzz phrase in the sustainability world. And as we continue to encourage the industry to move towards a more sustainable and ethical future, it’s helpful to know what we're up against. But what does this term really mean? Fast Fashion is defined by: inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. Why is it bad? The fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, while it is estimated to use around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually1. The size of the fast fashion market in 2019 reached a staggering £25.8 billion, this number is set to rocket to £27.57 billion in 20232. Polyester, acrylic, nylon and other synthetic compounds make up at least 60% of our clothes. We are wearing plastic clothes and each time we wash them, microplastics are entering our Ocean3. Despite the advantages for customers, fast fashion has also been criticized because it encourages a “throw-away” attitude. That's why it's also called disposable fashion. Many fast fashionistas in their teens and early twenties—the age group the industry targets—admit they're only wearing their purchases once or twice4. We need to put the brakes on fast fashion and turn to slow fashion, a more sustainable way to shop. What is Slow Fashion? Essentially, slow fashion turns fast fashion on its head. It considers the processes and resources required to make clothing. It advocates for buying better-quality garments that will last longer, and values fair treatment of people, animals, and the planet. Fashion brands are also starting to use recycled materials to create their garments, reducing our plastic footprint and reusing products where they can. What can I do? Shop your Wardrobe - take a look through your closet and see what you already have - can you pair your favourite jacket with a different outfit, creating a new look? Swish or Swap - raid friend's and family's wardrobes for some new outfits. Your parents may have some vintage gems hiding at the back of their drawers Secondhand Shopping - check out your local charity shops - we all love a bargain! Rent - yes - this is now an option Shop Ethical - it's easy to go for fast fashion brands, but do your research and know where you're buying from Questions to ask before your next shopping haul: Where is this item from? Do I already have a similar item? Do I really need this? Can this be reused Can I up-cycle it into something else after I'm finished? Can I extend its lifespan by repairing if it breaks? Is this a single-use item and if yes, can I find a planet friendly version? You don’t need to break the bank to be on trend or opt for the most sustainable brands. Charity shops, clothes swaps and repairing old items are great alternatives. #OGSustainableFashionSeries Resources 1- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2- Fast Fashion Global Market Report 2020-30: COVID-19 Growth and Change https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5027869/fast-fashion-global-market-report-2020-30-covid?utm_source=dynamic&utm_medium=BW&utm_code=5vl8sh&utm_campaign=1398968+-+Worldwide+Fast+Fashion+Market+to+2030+-+Featuring+Gap%2c+Forever+21+%26+Mango+Among+Others&utm_exec=jamu273bwd 3- Fast Fashion & Ocean Pollution: How Much a New Collection Really Costs Us? https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/23799/20190911/fast-fashion-ocean-pollution-how-much-a-new-collection-really-costs-us.htm 4- The New York Times. "What Do Gen Z Shoppers Want? A Cute, Cheap Outfit That Looks Great on Instagram."